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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pervalert

It's very difficult to know what, exactly, to do with yourself in the women's section of a store while your wife is trying on clothes.

We were at Kohls yesterday (judge not) shopping for Mrs. Apron. She wanted some summer tops that were appropriate for work. Not that the ones she has already have nipple cut-outs, an arrow pointing down to her crotch, or "Fuck You, Niglet" scrawled on them-- but, being a speech language pathologist, she is bound to dress by the 3 B's rule: no boobs, no butt, no belly. This seems like it would be the dress code for everyone in the working world, except for working girls, but some people need things spelled out for them, like the girl at the bagel store this morning who bent down to get cream cheese and was sporting an unfortunate plumber's crack.

First, since we were at Kohls (you're judging, aren't you?) Mrs. Apron wanted to pick up a bra or two, since she is an unusual size (34-D. Yay, boobies!), and is rather finicky about what product she will permit to sling up the girls. She's partial to Warners products, and she can't deal with underwire. She has such a bastard of a time finding her favorite bras that one year I went out and bought nine of them for her. I'm surprised the National Guard wasn't summoned via the Pervalert Button under the cash register.

"They're not for me," I remember saying stupidly to the matronly, black Kohls employee as she scowled at me as if she were my fourth grade teacher and I had just wet-farted during a math test.

Yesterday, we found exactly two bras that my wife found girlsworthy, so we snapped them up.

"Give them to me," she said as I was absentmindedly clutching them by their hangers, "and I'll spare you the indignity."

"Oh," I said, handing them over, "that's very kind of you."

We wandered over the the Young Miss section or whatever it's called-- Tween Hell-- where my wife is still fortunate enough to be able to shop without looking pathetic and she found several top possibilities. Just prior to entering the fitting room, she turned to me, said "Here" and shoved the two bras back in my hand, and also gave me her purse.

"Um, didn't you recently say something about sparing me indignities?" I asked.

"Oh, right. Here," she said, pointing to a rack of mish-mosh clothing, "put the bras here. This is the unwanted merchandise rack."

I hung the bras up, and stood guard over them as if they were the Bras of the Unknown Soldier. These things were valuable, I couldn't let just any bitch with 34-D titties just grab them and flee. I would fearlessly and zealously attack any woman who tried to abscond with my wife's bras. I would hit her with my wife's purse.

Mrs. Apron gone, dressing and undressing in the fitting room, I was left to my own devices in the distinctly women's section, left to fidget and let my eyes scan merchandise and customers and.... my shoes. I was busily engaged in the admittedly futile endeavor of not looking like a pervert. I couldn't decide whether the fact that I was holding a purse helped or hindered my goal. It probably helped. "Oh, that skinny Jew's holding his purse for his wife who's trying on clothes. How nice." That, I hoped, was what people were thinking as they were looking at me, standing guard by the fitting room discard rack. Those sentiments didn't, however, mirror peoples' facial expressions. I was feeling judged, especially by the older women, one of whom seemed to have her gaze fixed on me, her head cocked a bit as she squinted, trying to figure out whether she knew me from the neighborhood or "America's Most Wanted."

See-- I didn't just need to wait there to ensure that no big boobied patron would steal my wife's special bras, I needed to stay put because Mrs. Apron likes to come out and show each individual piece of clothing to get my perspective. I think this is very flattering, and it makes me feel like a.) my opinions are valid/desired and b.) I'm not the typical American husband who would perhaps offer a grunt if his wife engaged in similar modes of clothes shopping.

If I were the typical American husband, I would

* sit in a chair somewhere in the store and snooze, stare at other women, zone out, text my buds, watch football on my Blackberry, wish I was anywhere else

or

* be somewhere else.

Since, however, I am not the typical American husband, I do tend to send up a flare in the pervalert department because I am standing around near racks of tank-tops (no pun intended) uncomfortably wondering if people are thinking I'm a pervert.

I mean, I guess I probably am, but that really depends on your definition of "pervert." I wouldn't go to a pet store, buy a hamster, feed him nothing but Vaseline for a week, dress him up in barbie lingerie and put the pictures up on Facebook. I do often imagine what people look like naked, but I think lots of people probably do that.

Right?

So, the next time you see a guy hanging around the dressing room of the contradictory gender, stop and ask yourself whether or not this gentleman could just be protecting his wife's tot-hammocks and acting as her fashion consultant before you judge.

Or judge not.

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